Mark McKenna and I have recently written an article titled Child Sexual Abuse by Clergy: Statute of Limitations and Repose Challenges, just published in the November 2012 issue of the Illinois Bar Journal. The article discusses a recent Illinois Appellate Court decision in a clergy sex abuse case and its implications for attorneys of child sex abuse victims.
In Wisniewski v. Diocese of Belleville, the Illinois Appellate Court held that a Catholic Diocese's fraudulent concealment of abuse by its priest tolled the statutes of limitation and repose. In other words, a now middle-aged victim of child sex abuse could still bring his claim against the diocese, even though a great deal of time had passed since the abuse, because the diocese prevented the man from discovering the abuse.
In our article, we review the Wisniewski case in depth, give an overview of Illinois law on clergy sex abuse, and provide guidance for other attorneys handling similar cases. As lawyers with extensive experience representing courageous victims of childhood sexual abuse, we want to do all we can to help other lawyers representing victims to challenge unfair impediments to pursuing claims in Illinois courts.